Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes or What Do We Do with a Pumpkin?

Thanksgiving pumpkin recipes or what do we do with a pumpkin? This innovative series of pumpkin recipes will serve 12 people for about $1.00 each, with vegan recipes such as curried pumpkin soup, stuffed pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds, and even pumpkin cookies. The initial preparation time is about 20 minutes and the remaining cooking and preparation time is about 2-1/2 hours since cooking and preparation times overlap. These Thanksgiving recipes can be served with a mixed green and veggie salad and cranberry orange date relish.



Selecting a pumpkin:

During the latter part of October, we saw pumpkins on sale for less than $3.00 each.  We selected this 16 inch diameter pumpkin for decoration.  It would also end up feeding us for several days.  When we picked out this pumpkin, we made sure that it was free of bruises, cuts and punctures.  We just dusted off the loose dirt and set it on display.  It is best not to wash a pumpkin that will be sitting around for a while, as it seems to promote more rapid rotting.  This particular pumpkin lasted until Thanksgiving time at the end of November.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 01

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 01

Preparing the pumpkin:

We then took our still very well preserved pumpkin and washed it thoroughly, using a vegetable brush to remove the imbedded dirt from the crevices.  We then set the pumpkin on our glass cutting board on the kitchen counter.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 02

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 02

This pumpkin was several inches too large to fit into our largest roasting pan, so we decided to cut it in half.  One half would be for making a roasted stuffed pumpkin; and from the other half we would make curried pumpkin soup.  We began by cutting out the stem (lower left) with a small sharp knife, making a bevel cut so that the inside hole would be as small as possible.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 03

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 03

We then cut the pumpkin is half from top to bottom and laid the two halves side by side.  Because of its shape and stability (it didn’t roll), the half on the right was selected as being the best for roasting.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 03a

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 03a

This a closer view of the pumpkin seeds that grow in the cavity.  They would become our after dinner snack.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 04

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 04

Next we cleaned (scraped) out the cavity of each pumpkin half with a metal kitchen spoon.  Since metal spoons have thinner edges than plastic spoons, they are better suited for this scraping job.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 04a

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 04a

It is not necessary to remove all of the silky strands that are attached to the seeds.  The remaining strands will cook with the pumpkin and are not detectable in the finished dish.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 05

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 05

Making soup:

We then took the half of the pumpkin that we were going to use for making curried pumpkin soup, cut it in half, and cooked each half in the microwave oven for about 20 minutes, until the pumpkin was soft enough to scrape out of the shell.  While the pumpkin was cooking, we began preparing the Greek style vegetable and rice stuffing.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 05a

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 05a

Test the cooked pumpkin with a spoon to make sure that the flesh can be easily removed from the skin.  Note how the pumpkin separates easily when probed with a spoon.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 06

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 06

Continue to loosen the pumpkin from the shell with the spoon.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 06a

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 06a

In this photo of the cooked pumpkin, we can see some of the silky strands that are now soft and easily scooped out with a spoon.  While the second piece of pumpkin was cooking, we began preparing the brown rice (2 cups of brown rice cooked in 4 cups of water).  When the second piece of pumpkin was removed from the microwave oven, we put in the stuffing vegetables to cook for 20 minutes.  We also put the pumpkin half that will be stuffed in a covered roasting pan and placed it in a preheated oven at 350º F. to be partially cooked.

Pureeing the pumpkin:

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 07

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 07

Next, we scooped the softened pumpkin from the shell and placed it in a blender to about the half or two-thirds full line.  We needed to make several batches.  Add apple juice to the top of the pumpkin, cover, and blend at high speed until smooth.  Add additional apple juice through the hole in the blender cover until the mixture maintains a small vortex.  Do not over dilute; the pumpkin soup is to be thick and creamy.  Note the way the pumpkin – apple juice mixture still maintains a swirl design even after the blender is stopped.  Pour into a large soup pot on the stove top, and set the heat to simmer.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 08

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 08

Once all the pumpkin and apple juice (we used nearly a gallon) are blended together and in the large pot, add the seasoning.  For this size batch: 1 tbsp. blended curry powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and a little hot red pepper sauce or cayenne pepper to taste.  Stir the seasonings in and continue to simmer for 30 minutes after the soup begins to bubble.  Mix the soup about every five minutes.  Cover and set aside.

Stuffing a pumpkin:

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - Stuffing 01

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – Stuffing 01

After the stuffing vegetables have cooked for 20 minutes in the microwave oven, remove and mix well and reheat for another 5 minutes.  When the rice is done, add to the vegetables and mix well.  Cover, and place back in the microwave oven for another 5 minutes.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 09

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 09

Remove the pumpkin that has been cooking in the oven and fill it with the vegetable rice stuffing.  Cover and place back in the oven and bake for an hour or until the inside of the pumpkin is tender.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 10

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 10

When the stuffed pumpkin is fully cooked, remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully transfer the the stuffed pumpkin to a serving platter.  We suggest that two people do this, with one person using two large spatulas under the pumpkin to lift it out, and the other person with clean pot holders to hold the pumpkin sides from bulging out.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes - 11

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes – 11

Scoop out the stuffing and pumpkin onto plates and serve with cranberry orange date relish.  Enjoy!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

And the bonus: toasted pumpkin seeds.  Place the pumpkin seeds in a ceramic microwaveable covered dish, add a little extra virgin olive oil (1 tbsp. or less) and mix well to insure that the seeds are coated with the olive oil.  Toast in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Mix well again, and reheat in the microwave for another minute and mix again.  Repeat until the pumpkin seeds are crispy.  Remove from the microwave oven.  Add salt to taste and enjoy.

Cookie Recipes:

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Here is another cookie recipe

Pumpkin Pie Raisin Cookies
Pumpkin Pie Raisin Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Raisin Cookies

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